Baby products you simply don’t need

A friend recently sent me a Reader’s Digest article about baby products that are a waste of money (thanks, Irene!).  I agreed with every one of them, and it got me thinking that the list wasn’t exhaustive enough.  Thus, I’m posting the list here, as well as adding my own additions to it.  Right now I have at least half a dozen friends who are pregnant (three with their first children), so this is for you guys (or I should say gals)!

Reader’s Digest list:

1. Diaper Genie – You have to buy specific brand trash bag refills for this.  I used a Diaper Champ that allows you to use regular medium trash bags.  I used it a little while for Eliza, and then realized that no matter what you do to mask the smell, you just have to get diapers out of the house on a daily basis.  My kitchen trash can became the receptacle for all diapers.

2. Pee pee Tee Pees – Sure, Zach peed on the wall and on me a few times while getting changed, but you can just keep the dirty diaper over a boy’s anatomy while you change him and quickly recover the area with the new diaper.

3. bottle sanitizer

4. bottle warmer

5. wipe warmer

6. baby powder

7. diaper caddy

8. receiving blankets – I would recommend Aden + Anais swaddling blankets,

9. hand mittens – My lactation consultant chastised me for ever putting these on Eliza, saying a newborn only has so many ways to learn about the world, and one of them is touch)

10. baby food processor (I have another post about the Beaba)

11. baby video monitor – You don’t NEED to see your baby while he sleeps.  An audio monitor will suffice.  If you WANT to, that’s a different thing entirely.

12. Baby Einstein DVDs

13. shopping cart cover – You bring the cover home, which now has all those germs on it anyway.

And now, my additions …

14. a portable crib with any bells and whistles – the one I got was $170 because it had a changing station attached to it, a music player, a vibration machine … and I never needed any of those things.  I’ll say it a million times: you want your kids to learn to fall asleep without help, so getting in the habit of putting them down with sleep crutches is just dumb.  (My disclaimer here is I’ve never had a child with colic, so I’m sure if I did I would be willing to try anything.)

15. crib or bedroom ambiance toys – ocean wonders, noise makers, etc. all become sleep crutches.  It depends on you if you want to have to travel with these things for life.

16. special detergent – find a scent-free detergent you can use for the whole family and be done with it.

17. backseat mirror for the car – they’re safety hazards because they can cause accidents (because they distract you) and in an accident they can become airborne weapons.

18. car seat head supports – unless you have a preemie or your baby is underweight for your car seat and your pediatrician recommends this, you do not need it.

19. sleep positioners – aside from them being ridiculous to begin with, recent research has warned they are safety hazards.

20. Special stroller organizers or umbrellas – Honestly, marketers will try to sell you ANYTHING …

21. strap covers for car seats or strollers – My opinion is car seat makers have to meet strict standards to keep your kids safe.  Why add anything unnecessary to such a piece of equipment?  My kids are perfectly comfortable in their seats without these.

Stay tuned for a list that’s just the OPPOSITE – all the things you just can’t live without!  And I’m curious if you have any baby products you got that you found to be useless.

Baby and toddler-proofing your kitchen

A few months ago I was nursing Zach on the couch, in the middle of a phone call, when Eliza escaped the room and returned moments later with cracked eggshells in both hands that she had fished out of the trash.  And if you’ve read the “My Little Mimic” post, you know she’s pretty good at breaking glasses.

Every mom probably has stories like the ones above.  The question is not whether you will deal with incidents like them, but how often.  I believe the “how often” is directly proportional to the amount of “learning freedom” you want to give your child.  So, you might find it hard to believe, but I STILL have not put a lock on the cabinet under the sink where the trash can is located.  I want Eliza (and Zach, eventually) to have access to it so she can be helpful and learn to clean up after herself.

With that in mind, here is what I’ve done to our kitchen to baby and toddler proof it:

1) We have a lock on the silverware drawer and Greg has installed magnetic locks on two lower cabinets: the one next to the trash where some cleaning supplies are kept, and the one that holds the most stuff.  I have not locked up my pots and pans or measuring cups or even the drawer with my grater in it.  When she used to reach for the grater, I taught her it is sharp by gently rubbing her fingers against it.  She has stopped playing with it.

2) Growing up, I broke way too many of my mom’s plates and cups (and thus started way too many arguments and fights) to want to have my children frustrate me in the same way.  So I have replaced our every day plates and cups with good quality plastic ones.  I searched long and hard for both, and I can highly recommend Bentley extremeware plates and bowls ( because they are dishwasher safe on the bottom AND microwave safe, and the Williams-Sonoma DuraClear glassware (

3) When we renovated our kitchen three years ago, we bought new appliances that include locks on the cooktop and oven.

That’s it (for now – I’m sure a refrigerator lock and a pantry cabinet lock are in my future).  I have heard friends say they put locks on all their lower kitchen cabinets except the one that holds tupperware so their kids can play with it.  I think that’s a great idea if you want to better control what your children can access in the kitchen.  But I must say, it is really nice to be able to hand Eliza some trash, ask her to throw it in the garbage, and watch her little silhouette strut away, hear the cabinet door open, the swish of the trash hitting the bag, and the door closing.  And only rarely does she fish out something she finds interesting.  It’s worth it to me.

Do you have any safety suggestions for the kitchen?